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Church and State in Franco's Spain

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Franco's crusade: The building of a Catholic-nationalist State thanks to the Vatican.
    1. Franco, the man of the center in a disparate nationalist clan.
    2. Why Church supported Francoism.
    3. The Catholic Church's privileges.
  3. How did the Church regain Spain.
    1. From the reestablishment of Church into the society.
    2. The conquest of power.
    3. The conquest of the Spanish society.
    4. To the movement of disestablishment.
    5. The Council Vatican II.
    6. The Church into the dissidence.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

?In the last sixty years the mutation of the Spanish Catholic Church has been extraordinary. It is as though we had been watching a play of several act, complete with changes of scenery, of the plot and of the personality of the characters and even the emotional tone: furious in the thirties, exalted in the forties and fifties, troubling and inquiring in the sixties and discrete with a sense both of satisfaction and disillusion in the eighties? . This rapid look over the history of the Catholic Church in Spain underlines an important fact about Church: as all human organizations Church tends to adapt to situations to survive. If we look at Church as a world organization in the past few years it neither condemns democratic or totalitarian regimes. There are the famous Encyclical Syllabus of Errors (1864) by Pope Pius IX who condemns some of liberalism's principles-such as public education or separation of Church and State-or the Encyclical Mit brennender Sorge in which racism is denounced, but Church doesn't namely condemned democracy or totalitarianism. As long as it can function freely and in keeping with its tenets and interest, Church isn't interested in political or economic policies of any State. If we look more closely at Church during Franco's regime, the same assessment can be made: when the Civil war erupted in July 1936, clerical support was overwhelmingly in favor of the military rebellion lead by Franco.

[...] Church and State needed each other to reconquest a shattered and in ruins country, but this permeation of the two institutions which are built one on each other is also the cause of his failure How did the Church regain Spain A. From the reestablishment of Church into the society The conquest of power: After the Concordat, the spiritual supremacy of the Spanish Catholic Church was recognized and ensured by a succession of laws and by the Concordat. But, more than a holy power, the Spanish Catholic Church wanted a temporal one, until then reserved to the Phalange. [...]


[...] Concerning the functioning of the Church itself, one main innovation was brought in: bishops had to retire at 75; the consequence is that 22 too old bishops had to leave their dioceses in Spain which triggered confrontations between Franco and the Holy See since the Caudillo found all the candidates too progressive. The year 1960 saw the multiplication of documents which asked for the relinquishment of the fiscal and judiciary privileges and to give up the right to sit in the Cortes. [...]


[...] Conclusion The Franco regime was, with Salazar dictatorship, an exceptional intertwinement of Church and State in a European country in the 20th century. Form a situation of persecution and precariousness, the Spanish Catholic Church succeeded in reaching an unprecedented state of power, both by its political and social presence. Franco wanted the Church to be its spokesman in every segment of the Spanish society, a goal which was reached by the end of the 1950's. Nevertheless, the economic transition towards liberalism -put in place by the Opus Dei-lead to the modernization of the all Spanish society and to a widening gap between an anachronistic political system and the economical, political and social reality of which the Spanish Church was confronted. [...]

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